Springtime in the Gobi Desert, South Mongolia. A family of nomadic shepherds assists the births of their camel herd. One of the camels has an excruciatingly difficult delivery but, with help from the family, out comes a rare white colt. Despite the efforts of the shepherds, the mother rejects the newborn, refusing it her milk and her motherly love. When any hope for the little one seems to have vanished, the nomads send their two young boys on a journey through the desert, to a a backwater town in search of a musician who is their only hope for saving the colt's life. Written by
Official submission of Mongolia for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 76th Academy Awards in 2004. See more »
Now my children I'll tell you the story of the weeping camel. Many years ago, God gave antlers to the camel as a reward for the goodness of its heart. But one day a rogue deer came and asked the camel to lend him his antlers. He wanted to adorn himself with them for a celebration in the west. The camel trusted the deer and gave him his antlers, but the deer never brought them back. Since then the camels keep gazing at the horizon and still await the deer's return.
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We heard that National Geographic was involved with this film, so expected some first-class photography. We were not disappointed.
The setting is amongst an extended family group, eking out a simple, rural existence on the high desert plains of Mongolia. It is the end of the calving season, and the last camel in the herd remains to give birth. We are privileged to witness the event in an non-intrusive way. It is the mother's first delivery and she encounters difficulties, probably through inexperience, and the human attendants feel compelled to assist. Not easy, with such a large animal, but eventually a healthy while colt is born before our very eyes. One suspect possibly because of the human intervention, the mother rejects the little one, and brushes away its repeated attempts to feed. Before long, the offspring is isolated from the mother and herd. Its mournful wailing sounds permeate the still Mongolian atmosphere with a haunting melancholy which cannot fail to turn the viewer's heart. Repeated attempts are made to reconcile the colt and its mother. As they all fail, the family decides to embark on a traditional ceremony as a last resort. This involves engaging a violinist to play music to the pair - a solution not as easy as it sounds, for the nearest skilled musician is in a remote provincial town which is at least a decent camel ride away. He eventually arrives and the ceremony commences. The outcome is best left for the viewer, suffice to say that here we have a touching film, with the splendor of the Mongolian landscape and the soft gentle colours of its sunsets as a backdrop. Worthy of a rating of 8 out of 10.
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